Barcelona cruised to a win over Barcelona vs Las Palmas Live during Saturday’s La Liga action, winning 5-0 at the Camp Nou stadium.Luis Suarez gave the hosts an early lead, and Lionel Messi broke Las Palmas’ resolve in the second half. Suarez and Arda Turan added two more goals in two minutes, and Aleix Vidal put the final score on the board.
Date and Time: 14 May, 2017
Venue: Gran Canaria
TV: NBCSN (US)
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There’s nothing particularly new to report from a team news standpoint; however the news that FC Barcelona have been paired with Real Sociedad in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey could have an impact on Luis Enrique’s selection this weekend. After all, the Blaugrana must now travel to the Anoeta next Thursday and it would be an understatement to mention that our record there has been poor in recent years.
However, all that being said, that particular fixture is five days after our match tomorrow; it will also be the first of a two-legged tie and of course, the Blaugrana need a result in La Liga far more than they need a win at the Anoeta. In other words, please don’t freak out if Enrique opts for a strong line-up tomorrow, and even if he doesn’t, trust that our squad can deliver the result we need.
In goal, there will be no surprises; Marc-Andre ter Stegen will start between the sticks and at this stage, it might be worth noting that his debut season as starting keeper in La Liga hasn’t been a resounding success, at least from a statistical standpoint. The German shot-stopper only has six clean sheets to his name in 15 La Liga appearances and in that sense his average goals conceded per game is nearly 50% higher than Claudio Bravo’s during his tenure as Barça number one.
It’s not that ter Stegen is playing badly – nor is he to blame for every goal conceded; however I do believe that we have lost a lot without that clear competition between the goalkeepers in our squad. In any case, that doesn’t matter much for tomorrow’s game, so let’s move onto the defense.
Sergi Roberto remains the only choice at right-back; although tomorrow could potentially see Enrique experiment with the 3-4-3 again. Not only would this afford Roberto some rest, but it would also enable us to commit more bodies to the attack as we bid to break down the Las Palmas defense. To quickly cover off that eventuality, I suspect that we would then see starts for Jeremy Mathieu, Andre Gomes, Lucas Digne and Rafinha Alcantara, with Alba, Roberto, Busquets and Iniesta dropping to the bench – but this seems a little too unorthodox for Enrique to start with tomorrow.
Instead, I suspect Roberto will start, with Gerard Pique accompanied by Javier Mascheranoand Lucas Digne, who would get the nod from me for the quality of his final ball from the left-flank. Unlike a few others who have voiced their opinions on social media, I have been impressed with everything that Digne has offered since joining, and at times he has even outperformed Jordi Alba. In this hectic January period, I’d like to see a lot of rotation at that position, if only to motivate Alba to really earn and cement his place for the final few months of the campaign.
In midfield, Sergio Busquets could be handed a rest at pivote, with Ivan Rakitic and Andre Gomes likely candidates to replace the Catalan if Lucho should so choose; but I suspect he will start anyway and then be taken off earlier if the match goes to plan. However, I suspect that Andres Iniesta will be rested, or at least dropped to the bench, with Ivan Rakitic and Andre Gomes then perhaps combining in the two interior roles. If you’re looking for a wildcard, consider that Arda Turan could feature in midfield instead, which may or not get you excited.
In attack, the aforementioned Turan is perhaps due a start given his form prior to the start of this year, but is there really any chance that he breaks the MSN monopoly? If any of the front three is rested, I would argue that it would be Suarez, and while I would be excited to see Neymar in a central role, if the Uruguayan were to drop to the bench it would certainly be for Paco Alcacer. So, expect the MSN again, but don’t be surprised if Enrique has one or two tricks up his sleeve.
The big news ahead of their trip to Catalunya was that Las Palmas will be without two of their defensive regulars. Pedro Bigas and Dani Castellano have been ruled out with injuries, leaving Quique Setien with the unenviable task of replacing the entire left-hand side of defense just before they nominally line-up against the greatest player of all time, Lionel Messi. That thought in itself must be terrifying if you are a Las Palmas supporter, but they do have reason to feel somewhat confident after a midweek win at the Vicente Calderon.
Admittedly, Atleti still qualified by virtue of their 2-0 win in Gran Canaria, but the 3-2 victory demonstrated their offensive potency with Croatian forward, Marko Livaja, particularly impressing with his brace. Undoubtedly, their star player though has to be Kevin-Prince Boateng; the Ghanian midfielder was considered one of the best in the world in his position at one point during his tenure with AC Milan, and while he might not be as impressive today, he can still decide a game if given the opportunity.
Barcelona (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Mascherano, Digne; Busquets, Rakitic, Gomes; Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Las Palmas (4-1-4-1): Varas; Michel, Garcia, Lemos, Lopes; Mesa; El Zhar, Gomez, Boateng, Momo; Viera
I like Las Palmas, but we’ll coast this one. 4-0 to the hosts.